Each year, the Nominating Committee nominates one or more candidates for each position becoming vacant among the officers and Governing Board members-at-large, considering needed Board skills, geographic diversity, and a balance of interests and backgrounds. This year, we are nominating the following slate. As there are no more candidates than vacancies, the nominees are deemed elected and begin their service at the annual Board meeting in April 2020.
Per the change approved to the CDSS Bylaws in March 2014, members of the Society may ensure that a specific person is included in the slate proposed by the Nominating Committee for the following year by submitting a nomination in writing, signed by ten members of CDSS, and sent to the Secretary by June 30. Written assent must be obtained from each nominee as well as a brief description of their qualifications. The nominee must be a member of CDSS. It should be noted that inclusion in the slate does not guarantee a nomination to the Board. If there are more candidates in the slate than vacancies, the Secretary would send a written ballot to every member by January 15 containing the names of the candidates and pertinent positions with information about the candidates’ qualifications. The membership would vote and the successful candidates would be determined as outlined in article 7.2 Election of the CDSS Bylaws.
Please find below biographical information about the nominees.
The CDSS Nominating Committee
Pam Paulson (Chair) - Waukesha, WI
Lisa Greenleaf - Bolton, MA
Beverly Francis - Columbus, OH
Sharon Green - Oakland, CA
Meredith Doster - Weaverville, NC
Robbin Marcus - Lithonia, GA
Members-at-large (3-year terms)
Peter Baker (incumbent) (Ann Arbor, MI) began square dancing in 7th grade in Bay County, MI. He was introduced to contra and ECD in the early 1980s and within six weeks was attending Kentucky Summer Dance School and Berea Christmas Country Dance School. He began leading dances because there was no dancing within 100 miles of where he lived. He later became staff for Kentucky Heritage Institute dance camps. Peter leads contra and community dancing. He believes dancing is for everyone and has led numerous events for “non-dancers,” including organizing the 1998 Guinness Book of World Records “Longest Contra Line” in Ann Arbor. He leads dances in schools, churches, street festivals, and wherever he is invited to share this passion. He has been an active organizer and leader in the Ann Arbor Community for Traditional Music and Dance.
Peter has also been organizing folk events since the mid-1980s, starting with the Dow Gardens Folk Festival in Midland and has been a co-founder of several organizations and events, including the Midland Country Dance Society (1984), the Michigan Dance Heritage organization (1987), Dancing In the Streets (Ann Arbor 1998), and most recently, the new CDSS Dance, Music and Spice week at Camp Cavell (2016) in Michigan.
Jeremy Carter-Gordon (Marshfield, VT) grew up singing and dancing around Boston and has woven the threads of that upbringing through the rest of his life. Upon graduating college, Jeremy spent a year on a Watson Fellowship studying sword dancing, which led to an MA in Dance Knowledge, Practice, and Heritage from Choreomundus, a multi-university EU initiative. Jeremy currently tours and teaches most of the year with Windborne, an acclaimed vocal ensemble, singing music from the US and countries and cultures around the world, with a focus on songs of social struggle. Jeremy works for Village Harmony as the Strategic Planning Officer and teaches singing camps for teens. The rest of the time, he can be found teaching rapper and longsword, traditional dance from France (Bal Folk) and Sweden, juggling, dancing ECD, waltzing, and dabbling in tango.
Susie Lorand (incumbent) (Ann Arbor, MI) has been a CDSS member for most of her adult life. She had few opportunities for dancing before college but pursued classical violin training in central Michigan and at Interlochen Arts Academy. Then the student folk musicians at Earlham College decided to “corrupt” her into a fiddler.
Later, she spent many years in the central New Jersey and Philadelphia Dance Communities, playing for English, contra, colonial, morris, and sword dancing (when not dancing herself). Leadership roles there included coordinating the Princeton Country Dancers pick-up band, co-directing Rum & Onions, serving on the PCD executive committee and the Lambertville Country Dancers board, and writing the PCD Newsletter.
Susie has appeared on the music staff of dance weeks at Pinewoods, Buffalo Gap, and Berea, plus numerous weekends and festivals. Now in Ann Arbor, she performs with the “Celtic roots” band Nutshell, directs music for Scottish dancing, plays for English, contra, and morris, co-directs the local Threshold Choir, serves on the AACTMAD board, and dreams of getting back into Renaissance music for voices and recorders. She enjoys welcoming and helping new dancers of all ages as well as mentoring musicians. In her spare time, she works as an editor and librarian.
Justin Morrison (Burlington, VT) has been a part of song and dance communities in Canada and the US for as long as he can remember. He earned his first Pinewoods crew t-shirt around age 7 and has taught Morris classes there in (much) later years. During a tour with the dance collective he co-founded, Maple Morris, Justin won the Best New Entrant prize at the Sidmouth Folkweek Morris jig competition in 2011 and respectfully declines to mention how many other new entrants were performing that year. In 2013, he was an organizer and artistic director of an international Morris stage show for Maple, which brought together dancers from Canada, the U.S., and the UK. He currently travels various distances to enjoy morris, English, contra, and song.
In his professional life, Justin is an educator of young children and seeks to bring singing and music into the classroom every day. He has been excited to share songs with colleagues to bring into their own rooms and even teaches them to play mandolin. He sometimes reflects on how his time leading morris teams informs his experience in front of a room of children.
Justin feels that dance and song can find a chord in all of us and comprise a natural language understood by young and old alike.
Marni Rachmiel (Seattle, WA) grew up in the suburbs of Detroit and got her undergrad degree in Music History/Musicology at the University of Michigan, where in addition to concert bands and the Early Music Ensemble, she played in the Javanese Gamelan and appeared in both the pit and on stage with the U-M Gilbert & Sullivan Society. She started dancing and playing for contra and English dances in 1990 in Albuquerque, NM, when she stumbled into a Bare Necessities weekend that totally changed her life. Returning to Michigan, she was active in the Ann Arbor dance and music scenes and became an avid dance-wanderer, including pilgrimages to Buffalo Gap and Pinewoods.
Shifting west in the later ‘90s, Marni danced and played in and around Boulder, CO, while getting her MA in Contemplative Psychotherapy at Naropa University. The siren song of the Northwest Folklife Festival drew her further west to Seattle, where she moved in 2004. Marni’s Seattle-based band Contra Sutra actively tours and has played weekends up and down the West Coast and around the Southeast so far. She also plays in Reverie and The End Effects, among other dance band configurations, and for many years has been part of the wacky Fremont Philharmonic, stage band for Seattle’s British Panto and Moisture Festival. She’s composed several tunes, one of which, “Violet,” is the title track of Reverie’s CD and now has a locally-grown English dance to go with it.
Marni also serves on the boards of the Seattle Folklore Society and FAR-West (Folk Alliance Region West). She and her partner Robert Orr co-host Two Pools House Concerts.
Luanne Stiles (Asheville, NC) discovered traditional dance later in life upon spotting an advertisement in the local Amherst, MA, newspaper for a Monday night English country dance. She thought, “‘No experience needed, no partner needed, all dances taught,’ that’s me!” Her love of the variety of dance tempos, amazing musicians, thoughtful teaching, and a generous community had her immediately hooked. For over 15 years, Luanne has danced extensively in communities and at camps throughout the Northeast and Southeast as well as California, Ohio, Illinois, and Canada. Luanne organized dance events in Massachusetts, and, after moving to the Carolinas, she and her husband John lead a biweekly ECD in South Carolina. After moving to Asheville, she continues calling and has joined the Ashegrove Garland team. It was the move south that really drove home the support CDSS provides to its affiliates. She was a community member on the Fund Development Committee for the past two years and is happy to continue to “pay it forward” by contributing as a board member. Luanne believes that her professional experiences within the corporate world of insurance services will serve to assist CDSS’s vision and goals.
Chris Weiler (incumbent) (South Burlington, VT) discovered contra dancing on New Year's Eve 1995 after being prodded by a friend for months to “give it a try.” Even though he didn't believe he could dance, he had so much fun that he kept going to David Kaynor's Friday night dances in Greenfield, MA. Eventually learning he was wrong about his abilities, he started dancing ECD, ballroom, and swing. In 2004, he attended his first CDSS camp (American Dance & Music Week) and called his first dance at camper's night. After that first camp, he and Seth Seeger started Shared Weight, an e-mail listserv where callers, organizers, and musicians can exchange ideas. He became a regular caller in the New England area and started the Mill City Dance in Manchester, NH, in 2005. He has also choreographed a few contra dances that get called here and there. In 2008, he was one of the founding members of Boston Intergenerational Dance Advocates (BIDA) in Cambridge, MA.
Chris supports his dance habit as a freelance mechanical engineer helping companies design new consumer products. Recently relocated to the Burlington, VT, area, he and his wife, Anne, are looking forward to getting involved in local dance events and bringing up their toddler son in the dance community.
Vice President (3-year term)
Nikki Herbst (Amana, IA, and Hawthorne, FL) wants most of all to bring the joy, art, and human cooperation of dance, music, and song to as many people as possible. She has been active as a dancer, dance leader, dance organizer, and dance editor for most of her life and invites you to have a look at her website, nikkiherbst.com, for details.
Nikki started a contra dance series in Ukiah, CA, in the 1980s and helped start a series in Iowa City 25 years ago, both of which she is happy to say are still running. She served as the vice president of Country Dance Society, Boston Centre, for 4 years and helped produce the Boston Playford Ball for 15 years. She was a long-time member of the planning committees for the Bay Area (California) Country Dance Society’s summer dance camps at Mendocino, where she was on staff as an English Week musician and ran the camp bookstores and auctions. She chaired the CDSS Nominating Committee for 6 years, and in 2009 ran the bookstore and auctions at seven CDSS weeks at Pinewoods. She was a member of the CDSS Centennial Steering Committee and chair of the Midwest Camp Task Group, which established Dance, Music & Spice Week at Camp Cavell. She has been on the teaching staff at CDSS’s English Week and Early Music Week at Pinewoods. She edited Andrew Shaw’s latest book of English country dances, Elephants Stairs, and is the editor and distributor for his large body of not-yet-published work. She was the copy editor for Graham Christian’s The Playford Assembly and has had a hand in shaping many other dance books and articles about dance. She currently serves on the CDSS Governance Committee and the Community Culture & Safety Task Group and chairs the Pinewoods Camp, Inc. Relations Committee.
Nikki has found that spending half of each year in the Midwest allows for excellent access to wilderness canoeing, raptor rehabilitation work, and therapy dog outreach visits with her big dog Henry, while the half of the year spent in Florida is a great time to hike, photograph wildlife, and work on a never-ending list of house and yard projects. Fortunately, there are opportunities for dancing, making music, and singing with friends everywhere.
Secretary (3-year term)
Pam Paulson (Waukesha, WI) has lived in Wisconsin all her life and started contra dancing in Kansas City, KS. It’s quite fitting that she started contra dancing as a traveling dancer because she hasn’t stopped traveling to dances! After that start in Kansas City, she found local Wisconsin communities in Delafield and Madison. After dancing locally for two years, she started going to dance weekends and was hooked! For the next several years, she was fortunate enough to go to around 25 weekends a year. Since then, things have slowed down a bit as far as weekends go, only 12-15 a year now. Pam has danced in 31 states and 2 Canadian provinces with the goal of dancing in all 50 states.
Pam is a dance organizer. At Squirrel Moon, near Dodgeville, WI, every September, she makes sure everyone is fed all weekend. In 2008, Pam was the driving force behind starting IndepenDance in July in Delafield, WI. Most recently, she’s added serving as the Dining Hall Manager at Dance, Music & Spice Week, a CDSS camp held at Camp Cavell in Lexington, MI. Pam is passionate about contra dancing and loves waltzing. No matter where she is, local dance or weekend, the contra dance feels like home.
Professionally, Pam is the Business Manager with Coordinated Power Systems Inc., an electrical engineering consulting firm. She’s involved with everything not electrical engineering at work. Involvement in the for-profit side of the business world brings a different perspective to the non-profit board of CDSS. While on the CDSS Board, Pam has been chair of the Nominating Committee as well as serving on the Personnel and Executive Committees. She’s looking forward to the new experience of being Secretary for the CDSS Board and continuing to “take hands” with other Board members and the CDSS staff to spread the joy of dance, music, and song!
The following Officers and Members at Large also will serve next year:
Gaye Fifer (President) - Pittsburgh, PA
Joel Bluestein (Treasurer) - Arlington, VA
Members at Large:
Nancy Barbour - Monmouth Junction, NJ
JoLaine Jones-Pokorney - Gainesville, FL
Karl Colon - Yellow Springs, OH
Robbin Marcus - Lithonia, GA
Avia Moore - Toronto, ON
Doug Plummer - Seattle, WA
David Roodman - Washington, DC
John Seto - Sacramento, CA
David Shewmaker - Washington, DC
Diane Silver - Asheville, NC
Darlene Underwood - Cincinnati, OH
Juliette Webb - Nashville, TN